• Margie Masters comes home to Woodlands

By Karen Harding

Margie Masters has come home to Woodlands Golf Club for the final time.

Masters, the first Australian to play – and win – on the LPGA Tour passed away in October 2022 but repatriation to her homeland was delayed until recently.

On Saturday May 27, 2023, a memorial service was conducted for family and friends to celebrate Masters’ life. It was held at Woodlands, the Melbourne club out of which she played so much of her wonderful amateur career.

Masters’ younger brother Philip, supported by surviving brother Robert, paid tribute not to a champion golfer but to a beloved sister and much-loved family member and friend of those invited to attend. Other brother Barry died just a few weeks after his sister.

Following the simple and poignant dedication, Philip and Robert Masters joined to scatter Margie’s ashes, as she had requested, just near the bend on the right side of the first hole. Those that knew her steady, reliable game suggested it was likely one of the few times Masters had ever been off the fairway or in the trees.

At the conclusion of the service, an exhibit featuring memorabilia of Masters’ career, including her 1965 LPGA Rookie of the Year award and the trophy for her win in the 1967 Quality Chek’d Classic, was opened (pictured, above).

Other items included Masters’ old scrapbook and a digitised version of an interview with her in the old clubhouse – in the company of 10-time club champion Ralph Judd – from April 2004.

The exhibit, which will remain open for the next six months before being integrated into other heritage displays, was curated by Jacquie Nichols-Reeves, a member of the Woodlands Heritage Group, and officially opened by Philip and Robert Masters. Former Woodlands GC President and close friend of Masters, Lee Wills, then spoke of Margie the golfer.

Aside from her LPGA tour career, Masters’ record as an amateur was outstanding. After joining Woodlands in 1950 on a handicap of plus-two, she won the first of nine club championships in 1952 as a 19-year-old, winning again in 1953, '54, '55, '56, '57 and again in 1960, '62 and '63.

She won four Victorian Junior Girls Championships and five Victorian Women’s Amateur, represented Victoria for 10 years and Australia from 1954 to 1962, with wins including the 1956 New Zealand and 1957 South African titles.

In 1958 she won both the Australian Women’s Amateur Championship, and the Australian Foursomes Championship with Queensland’s talented Joan Fletcher. She also claimed the 1964 Canadian amateur championship, which set in motion her professional career.

In 2004 Masters was made an honorary member at Woodlands and entered its Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2013 she was honoured with Victorian Hall of Fame induction.

At the 50th anniversary of WPGA (Women’s Professional Golf Association) Tour Australasia in 2022, Masters was posthumously awarded life membership, while the award for the Best Domestic Player of the Season is now named in her honour.

Subscribe to WPGA Tour Newsletter